After a first night full of high stakes and great scores, Canada’s finest university athletes were back in the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse to do it all over again for Day 2 of the U SPORTS Track and Field Championships in Windsor, Ont.
It was a historic day for Alberta’s Austin Cole, who broke a U SPORTS record that had stood for nearly two decades. Cole’s time of 33.37 in the 300 metres beat the previous mark of 33.40 that had stood for 19 years, while also setting a new facility record for the Dennis Fairall fieldhouse in the process.
After losing the lead position late Thursday night following a fantastic finish in the women’s pentathlon, the Guelph Gryphons fought back hard and regained their top spot in short order – and as the day wore on the Gryphs’ padded to their advantage.
Sarah Hammond and Kendra Leger gave the Gryphons a huge boost by placing first and second in the women’s 60-metre hurdles with times of 8.2 and 8.3 seconds, respectively. Marissa Dubois’ fourth-place finish in the women’s long jump with a leap of 5.70 metres added to the Gryphons’ advantage - an 80-51 lead on the second-place and host Windsor Lancers after the second day of competition.
Windsor made their way into second place at the end of Day 2. The Lancers’ effort to medal in their home building got a huge boost from Kelsey Balkwill’s lightning quick 300-metre race, crossing the finish line in 38.46 seconds on her way to claiming U SPORTS gold. In the field, shot put favourite Sarah Mitton lived up to her billing, winning gold with a toss of 15.09-metres, before Rachael Wolfs captured gold in the pole vault, clearing the bar by 4.15 metres.
Just behind the Lancers were the Toronto Varsity Blues, who started the day placing a host of athletes on the podium. Lucia Stafford and Madeleine Kelly each took home silver and bronze in the 1000 metres, running 2:44.39 and 2:46.59 respectively. Sahsha Gollish also claimed silver in her 3000-metre race with a time of 9:12.53. Kelly and Gollish won gold later in the day with the 4x800-metre relay team which completed the race in 8:43.93, while Brittany Salmon added bronze in the pole vault, leaping to a height of 4.05 metres.
On the men’s side it was more of the same as the Gryphons moved up to first place. U SPORTS Outstanding Male Track Performer of the Year Thomas Land ran a fantastic 1000-metre race to steal gold from Laval, with Andrew LeBlanc coming in third – the two Gryphons ran the event in 2:27.98 and 2:28.66 respectively. The men’s campaign was helped further by Sean Cate’s finish in the men’s high jump in which he tied for second with Manitoba’s Oyinkansola Akinola with a leap of 2.13 metres.
The Laval Rouge et Or finished the day in second place. Nicolas Morin gave the Rouge et Or a huge boost with his second-place finish in the 1000 metres, finishing the race in 2:28.10, while Peter Nsaka-Malonge came third in the heptathlon with 4976 points.
For the second day in a row, the Varsity Blues were sitting in third once the dust settled. Toronto’s Anthony Kwan earned a bronze medal in the 60-metre hurdles event with a time of 8.2 seconds, while Ezana Debalkew finished third in the weight throw event with a toss of 16.81 metres to help the Blues reach 30 points.